Patents no problem say Roche when it comes to speeding up production of Tamiflu

High profile Swiss drug maker Roche says it will not let patents stand in the way of getting its Tamiflu drug to patients in the event of a bird flu pandemic.

Roche's chief executive Franz Humer says the company are prepared to talk to anybody who can manufacture the drug, and do it faster, and complement their manufacturing.

He says patents will not be an issue.

Humer confirms that the company has been approached by Taiwan for permission to make the drug.

Apparently Roche could itself satisfy current levels of demand for a normal flu season, plus orders already received, and are now building capacities in anticipation of additional orders.

According to Humer the company is working very closely with the American government, and recognise the importance of also working with other governments, to establish what they have and how they can help each other.

Humer is confident that legal disputes between Roche and the U.S. firm Gilead Sciences who created Tamiflu, would be resolved.

He does however deny that the company has been under official pressure to consider granting other companies licences to make the drug.

According to Humer the company have been working on this plan for a number of weeks and are waiting for FDA approval for a manufacturing plant.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a manufacturing plant in the United States, one of 12 production sites worldwide, to be used to make the drug.

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